Knowing Your Property’s Worth: The Importance of Running a Comparative Market Analysis

As an investor, when you purchase a property to be used as a rental, many factors go into deciding which property you choose. Not only do you want the property to be in a good location near amenities, but you also want the rent you charge to be affordable and attractive to potential tenants.

How do you decide what the appropriate amount of rent is? By running a comparative market analysis! Let’s explore what a comparative market analysis is and why it is important for your rental property.

What is a Comparative Market Analysis?

A comparative market analysis (CMA) is a report that compares the prices of similar homes sold in a specific area. While some adjustments will need to be made since not all homes are the same, the CMA gives you an idea of what homes have sold for, which can help you determine an appropriate rent amount for your property. 

Many factors are taken into consideration, including:

  • Location
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Square footage
  • Amenities and upgrades
  • Current market demand

 

Why Should You Run A CMA?

Establishing the appropriate rent for your rental property is important when you’re advertising it online. If your rent is too high, it can lead to longer days on the market and more money out of your pocket.

Here are a few other reasons why running a CMA on your rental property is important:

  • Attracts high-quality tenants to your property
  • Allows you to stay competitive with other available rental properties
  • Maximizes income and potentially reduces vacancies
  • Saves you marketing dollars
  • Less stress for you and your business

Understanding the ins and outs of a comparative market analysis may require an experienced property manager. If this sounds like a task you would rather not do yourself, reach out to us! TALK Property Management would love to run a comparative market analysis free of charge and help you determine the ideal rental price for your property. 

 

Pros and Cons of Purchasing A Fixer-Upper Property

Whether you’re just starting out in real estate investing or you’re looking to build your portfolio, investing in a fixer-upper could be something you’re considering. Like most things in investing, fixer-uppers can come with many benefits but also many risks.

Let’s dive into a few pros and cons of purchasing a fixer-upper property so you can make an informed decision on whether this is the best option for you as an investor.

Pro #1: Lower Purchase Price

Fixer-upper homes tend to have lower purchase prices because the sellers understand the home will need some work prior to moving in. Even though you will need/want to put additional money into the property for repairs, initially, you’ll have a lower purchase price and a lower down payment than you would have if you purchased a property that’s more move-in ready.

Pro #2: Ability To Customize

Sometimes fixer-uppers will need to be gutted entirely, giving you the option to customize the property and make it exactly what you want. This gives you the ability to really think about what features matter most to your renters and make sure they’re included in your property. Renters like to see updated kitchens and bathrooms, so adding new countertops, cabinetry, and even a fresh coat of paint will go a long way.

Con #1: Expensive Repairs

Fixer-upper homes often come with a lot of repairs, which can get costly. It can be easy to get carried away and go over budget when it comes to making repairs and making the property what you want it to be. 

Con #2: Unexpected Surprises 

Even if you have a home inspection completed, there will sometimes be unexpected issues along the way. These issues can lead to even more expensive repairs and a longer time period for repairs to be completed, which can affect your timeline. 

Purchasing a fixer-upper property is a great option for adding more to your portfolio. If you have any questions about fixer-upper properties, reach out to us! We would love to provide our expertise and help in any way we can! 

Investment Property Pricing Strategies For Constant Income and High Occupancy Rates

The ultimate goal for investment properties is to have a constant stream of income and high occupancy rates, and to do that, you need to make sure your property is priced right. If your property is priced too high, potential renters will skip past it when searching online before they even look into it. 

Here are a few pricing strategies to utilize when pricing your investment property.

Perform a Comparative Market Analysis

While the name might sound scary, a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is simply comparing your investment property to similar homes in the area. Find homes with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms with similar square footage and see what they’re priced at to come up with a competitive price for your property. 

In addition to bedrooms and bathrooms, look at your property’s upgrades, amenities, and location. These are all factors that can be considered when pricing your property. If your home has more to offer or a better location than the other homes, you can price it higher than other properties. At TALK Property Management, we provide this as a FREE service for you. 

Consider the Market

The real estate market can largely affect pricing and what potential renters are willing to pay. If demand is high and supply is low, prices usually increase. If demand is low and supply is high, landlords are likely to lower rent prices. It’s also worth noting that potential renters could be more or less likely to purchase a home than rent based on what the market is doing. So, having a clear understanding of the market is huge when it comes to pricing.

Keep Seasonality In Mind

Typically, rental demands are higher in the summer and early fall as opposed to spring and winter, so you could price your property higher if it’s listed during a peak time of year. Keeping seasonal trends in mind when you price your property and market it online are huge to ensure you’re getting the most money.

Staying competitive with other investment properties is huge when it comes to the overall success of your property. If you have any questions about pricing your investment property or you would like TALK Property Management to do the heavy lifting for you, reach out to us! We want your real estate investment to be a success!

How To Prepare Your Vacation Rental Property For Holiday Guests

It’s that time of year when your vacation rental properties are most likely booked up with guests trying to escape the cold weather. Dazzling your guests for the holiday season shows you go the extra mile and care about them and their comfort, which ensures they will return each year for the holidays.

Here are a few ways to prepare your vacation rental and maximize your vacation bookings.

Don’t Skip The Basics

While the holiday season tends to be busy for vacation rentals, cover the basics by scheduling specialists to look at your mechanical systems and ensure everything is in working order. Nothing is worse than having guests at your property when the A/C or furnace goes out, and it could have been avoided if someone looked at it before. If you provide towels and bath necessities, make sure to have everything stocked and ready to go for guests so it’s one less thing they have to ask about during their visit. 

Welcome Them With A Gift

Guests want to feel like they’re important and not just another number. Celebrating the season of giving with a holiday gift is just one extra thing you can do to show you’re grateful for their booking with you. Think about having a plate of holiday cookies waiting for them upon their arrival or working with nearby restaurants and businesses to offer discounts to your guests.

Get Into The Holiday Spirit

Decorating for the holidays can make your vacation rental feel like a home away from home for your guests. It also makes your rental feel more inviting and warm and can help them get into the holiday spirit. Adding simple touches like throw pillows, lights, garlands, or a Christmas tree can go a long way and make your rental more festive. 

Prepare A Local Holiday Guide

Guests who have never been to your vacation rental before might not know what there is to do nearby. Providing them with a local holiday guide of festive boutiques, restaurants, and more, can help them finish up some last-minute holiday shopping and live like the locals. 

 

Utilizing these tips to prepare your vacation rental during the holiday season will go a long way with your guests and make their stay merry and bright. If you have any questions about vacation rental properties, reach out to us! We would love to provide our expertise and help in any way we can! 

Rental Property Upgrades To Avoid

As an investor, you want to make upgrades to your rental property that will bring in a steady stream of tenants and provide value to your property, but sometimes, the upgrades aren’t worth the upkeep or the hassle. When thinking about what upgrades to make to your rental property, make sure it’s worth the time and money before going through with it.

Here are four upgrades that you should consider avoiding when it comes to renovating your rental property.

Granite Countertops

While granite tends to be a more popular choice for countertops, they’re not necessarily ideal for rental properties. Not only will the trend eventually fade, but granite is particularly expensive compared to other countertop options such as quartz, marble, or laminate. Better to choose a countertop that’s cost-effective, durable, and will last a long time, so you’re less likely to have to replace it in a few years.

White Bathrooms

All-white bathrooms have an eye-catching effect that looks clean and new, but it can go away quickly if not cleaned often. White bathrooms can easily show dirt and dust, making them a not-so-great option for your rental property. Not only does it mean more upkeep for you, but also more for your tenants to keep up with keeping them clean. Choosing more neutral colors can still give the bathroom an elevated look without all the hassle.

Bright Paint Colors

Speaking of neutral colors, the same should go for your paint colors. Accent walls might still be a popular trend, but the days of having bright colors everywhere are gone. Keep it simple with grays and beiges because they go with everything and won’t clash with your tenants’ furniture and design choices. 

Elaborate Landscaping

Of course, you should have some landscaping outside, but there is such a thing as overdoing it. All possible tenants will see is more they will have to keep up with, and it could inevitably turn them away from choosing your property to rent. Sticking to the basics and making sure everything looks clean and put together will go a long way. 

When it comes to making upgrades to your rental property, always remember that less is more. If you have any questions about what upgrades are worth making, reach out to us! We would love to provide our expertise and help in any way we can! 

Looking To Buy An Investment Property? Here Are 4 Ways To Finance It!

Whether you’re looking to purchase a property to flip and put back on the market or to rent out to tenants, there are many ways to invest in real estate. One of the biggest questions investors might have is, “How will I finance this investment property?” Luckily, depending on your situation and finances, there are a few different ways to finance investment properties.

Let’s dive into four ways to finance your next investment property and see which method will work best for you!

Conventional Loan

Like traditional buyers, conventional loans are one of the most common ways to finance an investment property. Conventional loans conform to guidelines set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, but the federal government does not back this loan, unlike with FHA or VA loans. 

Your credit score and credit history are considered to get approved for a conventional loan. The minimum credit score for a conventional loan is 620 or 740 if you want to receive a good interest rate. In addition, a 20% down payment of the home’s purchase price is required for conventional loans. 

Hard Money Loan

Professional individuals or companies lend money to investors specifically for real estate investing purposes. Hard money loans are easier to secure than conventional loans and are best if you’re looking to flip a property instead of buying or renting it. Hard money loans don’t look at credit scores or credit history; however, they take into account the property’s profitability. While hard money loans are one of the most common types for investment properties, they only last for 36 months and have higher interest rates, around 10% higher than conventional loans.

Private Money Loan

Private money loans are where you have people in your network or sphere of influence who have extra money and are looking for a good return on their investment. Private money loans have more flexible terms and are typically used by investors when banks have turned down. Loan terms and interest rates may differ, depending on your relationship with the person who loaned the money, but interest rates are usually lower, and the length of the loan is more flexible than with other loans.

Home Equity Loan

Home equity loans allow an investor to borrow against the equity of their primary home to use towards buying another home or investment property. These loans are essentially a second mortgage, but with a higher interest rate than your first mortgage.

Lenders will run a credit check and have an appraisal done on your primary property to determine creditworthiness and the market value of your home. In most cases, investors are able to borrow up to 80% of the home’s equity to use towards the purchase, repairs, and more. 

If you’re currently an investor or need help getting started, reach out to us at TALK Property Management. We would love to provide our expertise and answer any questions you might have. 

Tips for Reducing Vacancy Rates In Your Rental Properties

As a landlord, you need to reduce the risk of vacancies in your rental properties to be profitable and keep your business afloat. While sometimes there’s nothing you can do to keep your tenants from leaving, there are some steps you can take to keep tenants happy and keep your properties occupied. 

Let’s look at a few tips for reducing vacancy rates and see how TALK Property Management can help!

Open Communication

Ensure trust and respect between you and your tenant by keeping open lines of communication. If there are changes in the works, be honest with them; you never want them to think they can’t talk to you. Reach out to your tenants a few months before their lease is about to expire to gauge their interest and see if they are thinking about renewing their lease or going elsewhere. Securing a longer lease is a huge win for you, and if they decide to leave, you have more time to find new tenants. 

How can we help? We keep you informed every step of the way and can handle accounting services on your behalf.

Understand Market Trends

If you want to purchase a new rental property, research the area, the current market, and vacancy rates. This will help you price your property right from the beginning. Make sure to look at what your competitors are charging for rent in the area so you can stay competitive. Sometimes, if tenants leave, it could be because your rent is too high for the area, and they can find something cheaper. 

How can we help? We use the Multiple Listing Services available only to real estate agents to obtain comparables to produce higher rents and fewer vacancies. Plus, we can run a free comparable market analysis and recommend your starting rate based on the current trends. 

Advertising & Marketing

Your rental property isn’t going to occupy itself. Make sure you have the right marketing strategies in place to advertise your property’s best features and obtain high-quality tenants. Advertising your property on home browsing websites is a good place to start, and be sure to post it to your social media pages, too, where people can share it with their friends and family. You never know who your sphere of influence might know, so be sure to inform them you have a rental property for sale and see who they can connect you with.

How can we help? We can photograph your property and place lockboxes and yard signs to promote the property. Advertising for your property typically begins 30 days before the home is vacant.  

Consider Tenant Needs

Sometimes, your tenants might have needs that your rental property might not offer, but could work out well for you and bring a whole new pool of tenants if they were included. For example, many people might have pets and would automatically be unable to live in your rental property if it’s not pet-friendly. Considering tenant needs shows you care about them and listen to their concerns.

How can we help? We can provide you with professional vendor referrals if there are repairs or updates you would like to have made to better serve potential tenants. 

Being a landlord and learning about vacancy rates can be a hefty task. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, reach out to us at TALK Property Management, and let us handle it for you! We provide a variety of property management services that will save you time, work, and stress!

How To Become A Successful Landlord: Mastering The Basics

Being a landlord can be hard work, but it’s also rewarding when done correctly. And, as long as you have the skill and time to complete all of the tasks associated with managing your rental property, you can be successful as a landlord and save a little money in the process.

At TALK Management, we have mastered the many responsibilities of property management, and we handle all of the duties of our landlord clients so they can focus on what they do best (not having to be a landlord). If you get started as a landlord and realize it’s too much, we’re here for you, and we would love to earn your business. 

Now, let’s dive into some of the key factors of becoming a successful landlord. 

Set Up Your Business

Prior to purchasing your first property or signing your first lease, make sure your business is fully prepared on the backend. You want to set up things like asset protection, insurance, and your bank account to ensure your investment is protected and everything is set up as much as possible. 

Consider keeping a folder of your important documents for each property to keep everything organized and ensure you have everything you need to prepare for tenants.

Make The Commitment

Landlording is no small feat. It takes a lot of time, energy, and responsibility to be done correctly. Before you decide to become a landlord, make sure you have thought about what this will mean for you. When purchasing properties and selecting tenants, take the time to make sure your decisions are the right ones. Nothing should be done on a whim; you need to take the appropriate amount of time to make decisions that will make you money and help your business in the long run. 

Understand Your Tenants

Not only is it important to properly screen your tenants to make sure they’re the right fit, but you should also take time to connect with them and understand their wants and needs. Establish trust with them by always being transparent and having an open line of communication so they feel they can come to you with questions and concerns. It’s also important to understand what they expect from you and what you expect from them, including following the lease agreement terms and paying their rent on time. 

Handle Issues Appropriately

Regardless of how excellent your tenants are, there will be times when issues will arise. As much as we don’t want to deal with problems, it’s part of the business. When issues arise, it’s important to have the appropriate systems in place to ensure they’re handled efficiently and correctly. Taking issues personally doesn’t help anyone, so try to keep your emotions out of it and navigate problems appropriately. 

Reach Out To The Professionals

If you get overwhelmed by everything you need to do to be a successful landlord, contact the professionals at TALK Property Management. Here are a few of the value-added services we provide that can save you work, stress, and, often, money:

  • Rigorous tenant screening process to select quality tenants
  • Attend court proceedings on your behalf
  • Handle HOA correspondence and violations
  • 24/7 maintenance for tenants for emergencies
  • Utilize licensed professional vendors and handymen for maintenance issues

Being a landlord can be a gratifying job when done correctly. If you have any questions about becoming a landlord or need someone to handle property management services on your behalf, reach out to us! We would love to offer our expertise and services!

The Benefits of Staging Your Investment Property

While most investors might think staging their investment property isn’t worth the money, the benefits of staging can outweigh the cost. Deciding whether or not to stage your investment property is entirely up to you and your situation, but there are many pros to staging that could work in your favor in the competitive Austin real estate market.

Let’s dive into a few of the top pros to staging your investment property. 

Pro #1: Helps The Property Stand Out

Many investors aren’t utilizing staging for their investment properties, so staging yours will help you stand out among the competition. Potential tenants are more likely to look at your listing with staged photos over listings that aren’t staged because they’re more attractive and inviting, which helps them picture themselves living there. 

Pro #2: Increases The Value

Staged properties offer a more move-in-ready vibe that many potential tenants are more willing to pay for. In addition, they tend to have higher rental rates, meaning you can potentially charge tenants more money to live there. This means you could be marketing to tenants with higher incomes and higher quality tenants. 

Pro #3: Less Turnover & Vacancy Rates

Investment properties that are staged tend to attract more involved tenants who are looking for long-term rentals. Attracting this type of tenant can reduce your turnover and vacancy rates, meaning less stress on you and more money in your pocket over time. 

Pro #4: Shows You Care

Starting on a good note with tenants is huge. Taking the time to stage your investment property shows you’re willing to put in the effort to show the home in its best light. This sets you up to be viewed positively by potential tenants and shows you care about your tenants, their comfort, and the property.

If you have any questions or need ideas on how to stage your investment property, reach out to us! We would love to offer our expertise! 

Investment Tips For Beginner Real Estate Investors

Investing in real estate is a great way to create a passive income and generate generational wealth. It’s a low-risk investment that can be very exciting for new investors. However, if you’ve never invested in real estate before, it can be challenging to navigate, so it’s important to be as knowledgeable as possible before diving in. 

Let’s dive into a few tips to help you through your real estate investing journey.

Team Up With Professionals

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to do things alone. Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to do it all. Sit down, meet with a few real estate agents, and pick the best for you and your goals. They will be able to help you find properties and negotiate better than you can on your own. Once you find the property, make sure you have trusted contractors lined up to make any repairs or updates. 

Establish A Clear Budget & Criteria

Looking at properties can be exciting, and it can be easy to jump into something too quickly. Once you establish your budget and the features you want in a property, stick to them! Don’t purchase a property over your budget or outside your criteria; it will only hurt you later. 

Diversify Your Portfolio

It can be easy to stick with one form of real estate investing, even though there are lots of options to choose from. Flipping a few properties in a row is nice to get your feet wet, but venture out into other possibilities like rental properties, commercial properties, and more. In addition, invest in different geographical areas to reduce your portfolio risks and make sure you don’t get too comfortable in one area.

Build Your Network

In real estate, you will meet many real estate agents, real estate attorneys, lenders, and more. Take advantage of any interaction you have because you never know what opportunities could come from them. Whether you need real estate advice down the road or they know someone selling a property you might be interested in, it’s beneficial to make connections. 

 If you have any questions about investment tips as a beginner real estate investor, reach out to us! We are always here to help.